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Keeping Secrets in Marriage

I don’t think I should have to tell my wife everything I’ve done or am doing in my life. What’s the big deal? I choose not to share some things because they’re irrelevant. I love my wife. I don’t have affairs and never would, but she thinks I’m having an affair and is threatening to divorce me.

– Should couples share everything about their past?
– Is there anything wrong with keeping secrets from your partner?
– What do YOU think?

Machine Transcript:

Welcome to let's get real the show but tells the truth about love sex and relationships this program is for but sure adults only watch at your own risk as the truth can have life changing consequences this show does not give advice the information provided is accurate to the best of our knowledge the opinions stated are those of the person speaking the truth well the only truth that matters is your own for more information visit W W W dot giving real dot tv viewer discretion is advised Now here's your hosts they lived and Darlene steal from relationship coaching institute welcome to let's get real today's episode is about keeping secrets in marriage Scott from St Paul writes.

My wife is accusing me of having an affair with a woman at work and is threatening to divorce me it's not true before I met my wife I didn't date this woman for about a year I never told her but somehow she found out I don't think I should have to tell my wife everything I've done or am doing in my life it had no bearing on my dating and marrying her but she's accusing me of keeping secrets and is demanding I give her a rundown of my past what's the big deal it's not a secret it's just something I chose not to share because it's irrelevant I love my wife I don't have affairs and I never would what's healthy for cop couples when it comes to their past is there anything wrong with keeping secrets from your partner I'm not hurting her me or anyone and I've never asked her to give me the details of her past relationships and the thoughts.

Of us got us to question what's wrong with keeping secrets from your wife and I think her behavior is telling you exactly it's wrong with keeping secrets from your wife she's not just. Reacting to the woman that you used to date she's reacting to your pattern your habit of withholding information now that withholding information means keeping secrets so she clearly doesn't like that and is not trusting you and suspicious of well if you're withholding information about that what else are you with Holden.

Scott it sounds like your position is that keeping secrets is OK and that attitude really is a problem for your wife since it's just not working for her.

You're keeping secrets is causing your wife not to trust you even if you're not doing anything wrong you know we really get that you're loyal you're not doing anything wrong but the keeping secrets part is causing your wife to suspect that you might be doing something wrong even if you're not doing right so how would she know how would she know if you if you're not doing wrong.

And the thing about keeping secrets I mean you know kids generally learn is pretty fast that the parents always seem to be able to figure it out like they have eyes in the back of their head and why and why is that it's because if something's off if something's being held back we can sense that oh yeah there's something going on we don't know what it is so we can we can sort of sense that not everything is out on the table so if you have kids you'll definitely you know know that about your kids you can spot it if they're not telling you something and they know they should go same with your wife your wife can sense that she can spot it she does know what it is and from your position you're not doing anything wrong but by not telling her that really gets in the way and she suspects that you probably are doing something wrong otherwise why wouldn't you say so. And part of why is that I think that might be a problem for her is when you're a part of a committed couple.

Part of that is intimacy and intimacy is really knowing that other person every quires you to just know everything about them and that means that you need to reveal yourself to your partner you need to just be open to your partner so that they can understand you.

And different people have different needs for intimacy some people have a very high need for intimacy they really want to connect emotionally really want to talk a lot and other people have a lower need for intimacy that you know it's just fine to live like roommates Well chances are your wife would like intimacy with you she would like to know what's going on for you she would like you to talk about your your life your thoughts your feelings and your past and you might not see the need for it oh but he does the thing that while you can see it is that. She is not understanding you fully and that you really are committed to her and you wouldn't cheat she's not getting that and the reason she's not getting that is because you're not. Opening yourself all the way up to her that's what intimacy will bring you it will bring us to the place where she's going to understand exactly what you're you know what you're meaning by your behaviors. And the thing about a committed relationship is that this is your special person this is the one person in your life that you lead all the way in that you lower your boundaries and you let them in ways that you don't let anybody else in and if you don't then your wife is going to feel like you're pushing her away you know if you don't mean to right and so. Another thing that's very very important here is that in a good relationship you prioritize your partner's happiness you don't discount their needs say oh I would let you know. If you're out on what was the matter with you Don't be ridiculous so if your partner has a need or an issue you don't discount that you prioritize that so and trust me that you're not going to have a happy life for half the marriage unless you have. A How you why. So you can be right or you can be happy but you can't have both and in my experience to have a successful happy relationship and marriage you must prioritize your partner's happiness in this case your wife and it would be great if your partner like your wife prioritize your happiness so you are both doing it for each other to me that is the formula for happy relationship so right now you are discounting your wife's need for intimacy and transparency and your life and your relationship and your marriage and your wife would be so much better if you would shift your attitude on that a bit.

So here's a couple strategies you can consider the first one is clearly you need to build trust and really the only way to build trust is through communication and sharing so one of the things that we recommend is that you actually still find a way to structure sharing interior life so for example you might decide that you have a daily check in time every day the same time you you know he said on the couch and have a cup of coffee and you check in with each other or you take a walk together or something like that and you really check in and know you're not just talking about the weather you're really sharing yourself with each other. And during check in time you share everything you possibly can not only what happened but your reaction to what happened and now you felt. And you know what went on for you and the more you share the more intimate you are being and if your wife ask you questions then answer the question as as thoroughly and completely and as transparently as possible you never ever ever respond your wife's question and say oh well that's a matter of survival.

You know it's a member in a marriage and lower the boundaries there is no such thing as privacy or secrets in a close committed relationship you know I mean I think this and this might feel a little bit scary to a lot of people especially if you're not one of those people who likes to talk a lot or you know feeling so I want to have to share feelings so if you're an introvert or you're a private person and some interviews tend to be very private people so you might be both then being married and having to you know not be private having to open yourself up to somebody you know that might be a challenge it might be scary but you're married now you're in a committed relationship so you get a chance to work on that every day.

So another thing we really highly recommend that you do is have a conversation with your wife. And find out what does she need to be able to trust you.

So there's what you think is right and what will work for you but there's also your wife's reality and your wife's knees and what works for her you need to find out what will work for her and be responsive to that. Right so. Maybe she wants to be able to look at your cell phone See see what calls you've had or you know see what texts you have or your e-mails or your email or maybe and it might just be that she wants a day we check in and that might feel OK for her so it can be. Just about anything and she probably wants to be able to ask you something and to have a positive response and to tell your truth to her about that rather than to have a shouting out kind of response like oh well that was a long time ago we don't need to talk about that so find out what your wife needs and be responsive to that what does she need to trust you what does she need to feel intimate in closing connected with you and you you know you can't lose that's the way to go.

So we have a compassion exercise you might want to try. So I magine if she was spending money and not telling you what she was spending it on or she was receiving text messages and telling you oh I don't have to tell you everything that's going on in my life so how would that feel to you would that be OK if she you know if the she was on the other foot if she was doing that to you how would that feel.

I tell you if you were spending money that and you wouldn't tell me what it was about we'd have a problem.

You know or if you were receiving text messages and hiding them and not letting me see I hear this you know so put the shoe on the other foot find out what it would like to be her and would that be OK with you chances are it wouldn't and he would chances are if right away you'd go yeah that be fine if you really think about it it probably wouldn't right. So finally Scott we have a program.

In radical relationships we call radical intimacy so there are lots and lots of strategies about how to develop in the sea and build intimacy you don't have to do everything but if you're here wondering about how when and intimacy works and how to do it better and how to do it more effective. Lee and how to kind of break through some of your own resistance and barriers to doing that you know we do recommend that you join our radical relationships you know video program go to getting real dot T.V. put your name and e-mail address in the box there and you will be given access to the radical relationship video series radical intimacy is the one that I'm recommending for you it's a great idea.

So if you have an idea a suggestion or comment for Scott please enter it in the comment box below and let's help help them deal with keeping secrets in his marriage and please do remember that telling the truth has consequences there really is the only way to have a fulfilling relationship but not all relationships can handle the truth so if this is your situation please do get the support you need from a qualified therapist counselor or coach no one is sex successful alone and just a little bit of support can go a long way in helping you live happily ever after. So thanks for watching and bye for now you have by watching let's get real the show that tells the truth about love sex and relationships for more information more episodes and to join the Free getting real club visit W.W.W. dot getting We'll done T.V. may you live the life you love with the love of your life.

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